2020 KOREAN NATIONAL TEAM TRIALS
- Tuesday, November 17th – Friday, November 20th
- Gimcheon Indoor Swimming Pool
- LCM (50m)
- Selection Meet for National Training Center Squad
- Day 1 Recap
- Day 2 Recap
Along with his Korean swimming legacy of becoming the nation’s most successful swimmer of all-time comes his controversy with the now-31-year-old having nearly missed the 2016 Olympic Games due to a doping suspension.
Park had served an 18-month ban for having tested positive for testosterone back in 2014, but the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) sought an additional 3-year suspension. That additional ban on Korean doping offenders would have rendered Park out of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
However, after Park appealed to the Court Arbitration for Sport (CAS), sports’ highest court, the organization ruled in favor of Park, determining that the medalist is indeed eligible for this summer’s Games. The KOC subsequently t its own ban on Park, allowing the Olympic champion to represent South Korea in Rio.
After the months-long battle, Park wound up being a non-factor in his pet freestyle events at the 2016 Games, not even making the finals across the 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle races after having taken 400m free gold/200m free silver in Beijing, followed by 200m free/400m free silver in London.
His irregular training pattern in light of his legal battle leading up to the Rio Games was one explanation, however, the national record holder also pointed to an alleged blackmailing scandal as another point of distraction setting him off his international swimming game. You can read more background here.
The Korean freestyle ace went on to win triple gold at the 2016 World Short Course Championships, but Park was unable to repeat the same gold medal status the following year at the long course edition. In Budapest, Park finished 4th in the 400m, 8th in the 200m, and 9th in the 1500m freestyle races.
He opted out of the 2018 Asian Games but made a haul at the Korean Championships in October of 2018. In addition to relay wins, Park topped the podium across the men’s 200m free and 400m free to race his way to a total of 5 gold medals on just 2 months’ worth of training. He finished 2018 ranked 11th in the world in the 400m freestyle.
In March of 2019, we reported how Park intended on not competing at that year’s FINA World Aquatics Championships hosted in Gwangju, Korea, but would serve as an ambassador for the event in his home nation. Additionally, Park said at the time he would compete at the 2019 Korean National Sports Festival in Seoul in October 2019 as perhaps his final set of races ever.
Come that Festival, Park showed he still had the stuff, posting a 1:46.90 200m free and 3:50.67 400m free combination for double individual gold in addition to relay wins.
Although Park’s management agency has not confirmed at this time that Park Tae Hwan is in fact retired from swimming, we can confirm that he is not a Korean Swimming Federation- (KSF) affiliated athlete for the year 2020. We will continue to look at what the man does registration-wise for 2021.